PUEBLO, Colo. - Led by a resurgent second half, CSU-Pueblo claimed a 71-55 win over regional foe West Texas A&M in its season opener.
After ended a rather down first half still in the contest, tied 29-9 at halftime, CSU-Pueblo turned it on the second half Friday, forcing turnovers, executing buckets in the transition and hitting clutch threes.
The turning point in the game was during a 14-0 run in the second half that was sparked by a three-pointer by Jed Knafelc (Sr., Highlands Ranch, Colo.), who led all scorers with 20 points, and consecutive buckets on the transition from point guard Nate Tigner (Sr., Fort Worth, Texas) as the ThunderWolves turned a 49-48 West Texas A&M lead into a 62-49 Pack lead in a span just under three minutes.
After the ThunderWolves took its first double-digit lead of the night, the air was taken out of the Buffaloes' attack as the Pack nearly stretched its lead to 20 before settling for the 71-55 win.
CSU-Pueblo, sprinkled with impact newcomers, relied on returners for big games. While Knafelc hit four threes, Tigner scored 12 points to go along with eight assists as he was the engine in the Pack's offense in the second half. Junior college transfer Julian Caldwell () finished just short of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds in his ThunderWolf debut, hitting 10 free throws in his effort. Wendell Lee (Sr., Los Angeles, Calif.) also used a strong second half to turn in a 12-point effort.
CSU-Pueblo will look to build on its season-opening win as it takes on Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday night. Friday, Kingsville lost by 28 to the nation's top-ranked team, Metro State.